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Best Paint Drop Cloths and Drop Sheet Reviews

Painters Drop Cloth Reviews – The Best Drop Cloths

Drop cloths are an absolute must when it comes to painting. The reason that drop cloths is so important is because preparation prior to painting makes a big difference in how efficient you are when doing the job and also how much mess you need to clean up afterwards. Our advice is similar to the old tradesman’s saying – “Measure twice and cut once”, our interpretation of this saying for painting is “Prepare yourself and the area well and you will do the job well”. Invest in the time to mask up areas that are difficult to get right, invest in larger drop cloths just in case you need them and above all, use drop cloths that are practical and work well. Your preparation time should be 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the job, trust us, its worth doing it right.

painting drop clothPaint Essentials 9 feet by 12 feet Canvas drop cloth

  • Easily the best option for drop cloths
  • Handles any paint or heavy duty home improvement project
  • Protects floors, carpets, furniture and more – absorbs paint or liquids, protecting your property underneath
  • Constructed of eight ounce 100% cotton fabric (duck canvas)
  • These are washable and can be used time and time again

Also available in (12 feet by 15 feet) size



Best Tarpaulins for drop cloths

  • TARPAULIN OPTIONSTarpaulins are good for painting, mainly outdoors and when you are painting large areas. Tarpaulins come in some very large sizes and this is invaluable when working on a large outdoors job. We wouldn’t use a tarpaulin inside (although you could), mainly because the material is not very flexible and its easy to knock over furniture and items inside the house with a tarpaulin (quite clumsy). What we will say about tarpaulins is that they are typically water proof and paint wont soak through to the other side. Paint does take longer to dry on a tarpaulin because the moisture is not absorbed in the surface itself. For this reason conventional drop cloths are a superior choice when used for indoors painting applications.


Professional Drop Cloth Options – The Best Drop Cloths 2017

You can get professional drop cloths in many sizes, usually the bigger the better. You may ask why bigger is better in this case – the answer is simple, in a small room you can simply fold over the drop cloth and its easy to setup the room for painting, with a smaller drop cloth and the room is larger than the drop cloth then you need to overlap the uncovered area and its a lot more work just to setup the room for painting. And we are all about less work!!

What Makes a Good Painters Drop Cloth

  • Absorption – when you spill paint on it, the paint doesn’t drip and run. When you spill paint on it and then touch the surface shortly after it has been absorbed and minimises the transfer of paint.
    • Fabric and canvas materials are the premium solutions however for lighter duty painting such as spray painting tarpaulins or plastic can work just as well for a fraction of the price.
  • Thickness and barrier – when paint is spilt onto the drop cloth it is not able to seep through and mark the flooring or furniture beneath it.
    • For outdoor applications this isn’t always a requirement, so be sure to consider whether it matter that you have overspray or paint drips in the location you are painting.

Painters Drop Cloth Buying Guide

  1. Type of Painting – Spray painting, painting with a brush, painting with a roller
    1. At paints on ladders we don’t use drop sheets when painting with a brush but they’re a good idea if you are a little unsure. For spray painting we use our old canvas drop cloths if available and in other circumstances we use blue tarpaulins (as large as possible to prevent the need for moving them all the time). For painting with a roller we use our good canvas drop cloths in the right size for the room in question. Painting a ceiling with a roller requires additional setup and prep time when compared to the walls, especially when working with a lambswool roller that flicks the paint onto the surface.
  2. Size
    1. For spray painting, go for as large as possible and long and thin if possible, we have been known to cut drop cloths in half to be suited for spray painting fences and the like. For painting internals within houses we go for drop cloths the same size as the room. When you are painting a large are we always frop sheet the entire area if we can and this makes it more enjoyable when painting as you can continue without stopping and starting and packing up and setting up. WHen using a paint brush we have a few small canvas cloths that are very portable just in case, in fact they’re a great spot to rest you paint bucket.
  3. Budget
    1. Most of the options we have discussed are the premium range of products but trust us, they’re the way to go. For cheaper options you can use plastic drop sheets for furniture if you have already used canvas on the floor, this is a good lightweight option that we do use at time. You can expect to pay $15-$40 for a good drop cloth but the payback is instant if it only saves 1 spill.

Old bed sheets for drop cloths

Old bed sheets can be good as a drop cloth but beware where you use them. Many painters have found that if the sheet is thin then any paint that is dropped can easily soak through and mark the surface beneath the drop cloth itself. Flannelette bed sheets work best and are the safest bet but do not compare to professional painting options. Another limitation of bed sheets is their size when using them as drop cloths. You want a drop cloth to be easy to use and that means covering the area you intend to use it for and not having to move it around as you go. When you paint a room, ensure that the entire room is protected with drop cloths. One final note, do not use fitted sheets as they can get caught on your shoes as you step and this can make a big mess.

Old bed Doona covers as drop sheets

Old bed doona covers are similar to old sheets but have the added bonus of being two layers instead of one. We typically recommend sheets in preference to doona covers simply because its easier to pick if you have had a spill with a sheet that is uniform in colour than with a doona cover that may have a pattern on it. Regardless its an option. but not one that the professional painters go for.

Additional Resources that may Help

  • Tarpaulins are a good form of protection for most surfaces
  • You can get quite creative with drop cloths, see some examples here
  • You can bleach drop cloths to bring them back up to scratch and keep them clean